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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

The Balancing Act of Determining Discrimination

2016 May 17

The balancing act of determining discrimination

Multiple “religious freedom” bills are currently capturing the attention of state legislatures across the country. “Religious freedom” bills are proposed legislation that call for religious organizations, businesses, and individuals to be protected from penalties for declining to provide services to individuals whose lifestyle conflicts with their sincerely held religious beliefs.  After the Supreme Court decision in 2015 to legalize same-sex marriage, these bills are particularly pertinent for those who, due to their religious beliefs, feel that they cannot provide their services to LGBTQ events concerning marriage. As a result, state legislatures and their constituents are facing the question of how they should balance the rights of people of faith and those of LGBTQ people.

The pressure to strike this balance has not been isolated to this year alone. In 2015, after passing SB 101, a bill that prohibited the state from “burdening a person’s exercise of religion,” the Indiana legislature clarified a month later with SB 50 that SB 101 does not authorize a “provider” to refuse an individual on the basis of the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. This event foreshadowed the legislative competition that was to come after the 2015 same-sex marriage decision, with churches and LGBTQ groups vying for the protection of those they represent.

Introduced in January 2016, Georgia HB 757 proposed to authorize a religious official or organization to decline to perform a ceremony or provide a service that went against their religious beliefs. The bill passed both the House ...

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VoteEasy and PCT Results Released in Minnesota

2014 October 27

 Today, Vote Smart released the results of the National Political Courage Test to VoteEasy at VoteSmart.org, giving Minnesota voters an invaluable resource for identifying their best political match November 4th. Thirty congressional, state legislative and gubernatorial candidates passed the 2014 Political Courage Test.
 

April Common Ground E-Newsletter

2013 April 26

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Hotdish #1: The Bachmann Recipe

2013 April 26

What comes to mind when you think of Minnesota? Hockey? Lakes? Maybe the movie “Grumpy Old Men”? How about Hotdishes?

Bipartisanship – Topped with Cheese and Baked at 350, for About 45 Minutes

2013 April 22

We here at Project Vote Smart often lament the lack of civility in Congress and in state legislatures across this nation.

Legislative Wrap-Up: Voter ID

2013 January 16

States across America considered legislation in their most recent sessions that would change voting and voter registration requirements.

Same-Sex Marriage Wrap-Up

2012 November 19

Over the past few years, the country has witnessed an abundance of legislation on both the state and national levels regarding same-sex marriage.

Candidates Flunk 20-Year Study of Political Courage

2012 October 29

A  20-year study of over 15,000 congressional candidates and their willingness to answer questions on the major issues

Standing Your Ground Across The States

2012 June 12

The February 26 shooting of Trayvon Martin has ignited a media firestorm surrounding so-called “stand your ground” or “castle doctrine” laws in the United States. 

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